'Roman Legionaries', Housesteads Fort

Following the Roman Legions Along Hadrian’s Wall

As I left the car park at the side of Cawfields Quarry, I was glad of the breeze, for the day promised to be hot. I followed the footpath along the pond’s edge, past the tall quarry face and gently uphill to the walls of Milecastle 42. The section of Read More

Almshouses, Bruges

Stepping Back in Time in the Almshouses and Beguinages of Bruges, Belgium

I must be honest. I’d never heard of a beguinage (or begijnhof, in Flemish) until I came to Bruges. Somehow the concept passed me by in my preliminary pass through the guidebook: I was too busy getting excited about bell towers, boat trips and Read More

Decorated ceiling

Imagining the Lives of the Harem Women at Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace

The surroundings are stunning. Sumptuous Ottoman architecture, Moorish arches, and Iznik tile mosaics. This was where the Sultan lived with his numerous wives, children and concubines, and I am trying to imagine what it must have been like to live Read More

1920 Fowler Road Locomotive (Photo credit: MCArnott)

Attending the Traditional Cart Marking Ceremony in London, England

What do Montgomery’s Rolls Royce and a butcher’s handcart have in common? They appeared in a London ritual dating back to 1667: Cart Marking. The first time I heard the name of this ceremony -- Cart Marking Under the Worshipful Company of Carmen Read More

Boat trips are popular in picturesque Bruges

Discovering the City of Bruges (Brugge), Belgium, by Boat

“Where are you from?” roars the boat’s captain into the microphone. He rattles out our various nationalities. French, Flemish, Dutch, Welsh, Scottish, Turkish, Spanish. “No Germans?” he bellows. “Excellent!” And then to ease our collective wince he Read More

Stirling Castle sits high above the plain (photo credit: Ann Burnett c 2013)

Paying Homage to King James V at Stirling Castle, Scotland

It’s the color that strikes us at first. How could sixteenth century Scotland be so full of color? Even on this dull, rainy day (dreich as the Scots call it) the outside of the Great Hall of Stirling Castle is a luminous cream. One of the many guides Read More

The orange trees of Cordoba's Alcazar

Walking Beside the Orange Trees at Córdoba’s Alcazar

The gardens of Córdoba’s Alcazar may be smaller than those of rival palaces in Seville and Granada, but they are still impressive. Even in the rain. I had walked through Córdoba’s UNESCO listed historic centre, from the magnificent La Mezquita and Read More

Seymour Tower and Intertidal Reef (photo: Anthony Toole)

Crossing Jersey’s Intertidal Reef to the Seymour Tower

Along the south-east coast of Jersey, stretching from St Helier to Gorey, the seabed is so shallow that at low tide an area of 17.5 square kilometres becomes exposed, making this one of the largest intertidal reefs in the world. Because of this, the Read More

La Marmotiere

Sailing to Les Ecrehous in the English Channel in the Early Morning

As the boat slowly sailed past the St Catherine’s breakwater, on the north-east corner of Jersey, a small flock of Brent geese, winter visitors from the Arctic, took off ahead of us. Clearing the breakwater, our skipper, Richard, revved the motor, Read More

The Great Clash of Nature-001

Sleeping like Monks in the Caves of Goreme in Cappadocia

As an independent traveler, it happens every so often: You find yourself walking beside a road in the middle of the desert, cars whizzing by you with little regard, no more than a bottle of water and a book in your bag. It was that way one afternoon Read More

The Beautiful Blue Coast of Heybeliada

Ferrying to the Princes’ Islands in Istanbul

On the ferries to Princes’ Islands, I would always drink copious amounts of tea. Waiters with dangling trays roamed up and down the decks touting chai for less than a dollar, delivering a tear-drop Turkish tea cup on a little glass saucer, complete Read More

The cast iron and masonry work on the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in Wales are more than 200 years old. (photo credit: Katherine Rodeghier c 2013)

Crossing the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northeast Wales

From my vantage point in the field below, the structure rising from the riverbed looks like a bridge—a magnificent one, certainly, with graceful 200-year-old stone and iron arches. But wait a minute and an incongruous sight appears: A boat slowly Read More

Arches of La Mezquita, Seville

Exploring Cordoba’s Mezquita: the Mosque that Became a Cathedral

The cavernous space of La Mezquita in Cordoba makes me think of Russian dolls. Standing right in the middle of the 8th century mosque is a perfectly formed Renaissance cathedral. What is more, the mosque grew out of an earlier Visigoth church, which Read More

Long brown building with many pointed spires and a giant clock tower at the right hand end, on the far side of a broad river

Pondering Power at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, A UNESCO World Heritage Site in London, England

When in London, listen to the stones. The Tower of London says, "Power comes from the King and his army." Westminster Abbey says, "Power comes from God." You would expect the Houses of Parliament to say, "Power comes from the people", but that's not Read More

Stone wall with a carved row of flowers and leaves, at each end there is a strange best. One looks like a bat and the other is more like a snarling lion.

Searching for Souls at Westminster Abbey, A UNESCO World Heritage Site in London, England

Why visit Westminster Abbey? Occasionally I go to indulge my private delusions of grandeur. Before I can be crowned Queen of England, approximately a billion people will have to die. Then, when I'm first in line, I'll follow tradition and have my own Read More

Skyline of the Tower of London showing light coloured walls and many towers

Finding the Bodies and the Loot at the Tower of London, A UNESCO World Heritage Site in London, England

The Tower of London is an architectural bully, a big tough bouncer at the door of England’s history. Don’t worry, the people at the Tower are lovely and helpful. But the walls themselves? They were built to keep the likes of you and me in our Read More

Ruins of abandoned houses, St. Kilda (Copyright Stillman Rogers Photography)

Stepping into the Past on Scotland’s St. Kilda Archipelago, a UNESCO Site

The taste of salt was strong on the wind as we sailed past cliffs that dropped to a wave-dashed tumble of stones below. Beyond this cluster of cliff-bound islands known as St. Kilda, open Atlantic stretched to the gray line of the horizon. The Read More

The scenery knocks your sox off (Photo credit: Roberta Sotonoff ©2012)

From the Window of Norway’s Flam Railroad

It is cold and wet. Standing next to Myrdal, Norway’s railroad tracks—a tiny town that is about a four-hour bus trip from Oslo, I am lost in a crowd of about 500 people. But the weather and the crowds can’t dampen my spirits. I am about to embark on Read More

Castle of Ali Pasha, Ioannina

Finding Byzantium in the byways of Ioannina, Greece

As my sisters and I disembark the ferryboat onto into a calliope of sound, smell, and color, we walk up to what seems to be a pet shop. Chickens and doves squabble in hanging cages. Turtles elbow frogs for a better view. Eels shimmer amidst schools Read More

Entering the Moscow Metro (courtesy of Emma Gallagher)

Touring the Famous Moscow Metro

The Moscow Metro first hit the rails in 1935. Back then, there were only thirteen stations and not even seven miles of track. These days, the Metro ranks as one of the world’s top three busiest transits (Tokyo is an unstoppable first in that Read More

Steep headlands in Scotland's Outer Hebrides

Cruising Scotland’s Islands on the Hebridean Princess

As we approached the ship, an opening skirl sounded from a piper on the upper deck, and he piped us aboard to the rousing strains of Scotland the Brave. So began our immersion into Scotland’s Western Isles, where more often than the highland Read More